Latest gratuitous insult to a conservative woman: the walk-on music for GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann earlier this week on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” was "Lyin' A-s B—h" by Fishbone.
In what the Huffington Post termed “an understated musical attack on Rep. Bachmann,” Fallon’s band The Roots played the song as a smiling Ms. Bachmann made her entrance. If she knew what was happening, she was too much of a pro to let on.
The band’s drummer, an ardent fan of President Obama, has taken responsibility for the musical choice. Fallon tweeted an apology and later joked that drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson is “grounded.”
Questlove himself has issued a non-apology:
"The performance was a tongue-in-cheek and spur of the moment decision," Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson said in a statement. "The show was not aware of it and I feel bad if her feelings were hurt. That was not my intention."
I think the drummer is lyin’.
After all, Questlove is a guy who has a picture of himself with President Obama on his blog. The New York Times hailed Questlove as “the Paul Revere for the Occupy Wall Street movement” because the tweeting drummer tried to warn the thugs in Zuccotti Park that the police were coming. (He had spotted police in riot gear near the park. You may need a subscription for this story.)
Questlove insulted Bachmann knowing he would not get in trouble (being facetiously “grounded” doesn’t count). Show business is saturated with people like Questlove who take it for granted that it is always open season on Republican women.
This isn’t sexism per se but Bachmann’s sex does pay into it. Conservative women are offensive to people like Questlove because they don’t fall in line and mouth the unthinking liberal platitudes that pass for deep thoughts for people of Mr. Questlove's intellectual stature.
NBC, it should be noted, is the network that gave us Tiny Fey playing Sarah Palin on SNL. Fey, unlike Questlove, was quite funny. But Fey’s “I can see Alaska” quip is often misattributed to Palin herself and has become part of the conservative- women-are-stupid lore.
It’s a vicious circle: conservative women who are candidates often feel it is beneficial to appear on these shows, but in doing so they always risk indignities that would never be perpetrated on a liberal woman.
Just for the record, Bachmann was charming and clever playing a word association game with Fallon. But it is the insult we will remember.